From Instagram to Twitter, I keep seeing people circulate these photos and caption underneath them “pray for Nigeria”. The photos we are seeing above though are from the 2010 oil spill that lead to a tank explosion that killed hundreds in D.R Congo. If you need further proof you can simply Google ‘oil tank explosion in Democratic Republic of Congo 2010’ and you will see these photos and more like them. I’ve searched for the photos of the Boko Haram attack and came up with only photos of the burned villages and displaced people but not the actual dead victims. It’s bothering me that people are circulating the wrong photos especially the press. I’m not expecting a lot from western media, to them Africa is a country anyway. However, for those of us who care and know, the least we can do is get this part correct.
“In December 2013, while most people were celebrating “peace on earth, good will toward men,” the U.S. State Department admitted that President Eisenhower authorized the murder of Congo’s first democratically-elected Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba. CIA Chief, Allan Dulles, allocated $100,000 to accomplish the act. Lumumba’s murder has been called the most important assassination of an African in the 20th Century. How do U.S. citizens make up for this to the Congolese people and to Lumumba’s family?”
Kinshasa the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo is no ordinary city and at first seems an unlikely place to have an orchestra of two hundred musicians playing to Beethoven Ninth –Freude schöner Götterfunken. “Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste” isthe only symphony orchestra in the Congo has been in existence for 15 yrs. Riddled often with power strikes, even on performance nights, seems the least of the worries of this symphony. Kinshasa Symphony directed by Martin Baer, Claus Wischmann is a study of people in one of the world’s most chaotic cities doing their best to maintain one of the most complex systems of joint human endeavour: a symphony. The film is about the Congo, the people in Kinshasa and the power of music.
The film closely follows a few of the band members and gives a view of their personal lives, how they make a living and struggle to make it to almost daily practices. We get to see the symphony overcome odds as they prepare for an open concert with thousands attending.
The DRC does not stop with these classical musicians all self taught amateurs or trained by other musicians unfamiliar in classical training with instruments like the cello, cello bass or violin. Kinshasa continues to stand out with its remarkable musicians forming this indie breed of rudimentary collectives that play with scrap yard instruments yet seem to stand on stages from Brooklyn to Paris. Other bands I should make note of are : Konono Nº1 who collaborated with Bjork on the song earth intruders and more recently with Herbie Hancock and Baloji. Also take note of Kasai All Stars.
Kinshasa Symphony has made its rounds in the theatre circuit and is available on DVD. Its playing as part of the featured screenings next week, in New York’s College music festival CMJ.
Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, held it’s first contemporary art biennale on November 21- December 19 in 2014. In the spirit of the biennale which take place in Dakar and Kampala, Kinshasa show-cased thirty-five artists from all continents and twenty Congolese artists, including it’s acclaimed artists Freddy Tsimba and Kura Shomali. The biennale was organized around the theme “Yango” means ‘Forward’ in lingala, and sought to explore aspects of Congolese representation, as well as urban space and globalization.
Organized by photographer and filmmaker Kiripi Katembu Siku, and curated by art collector Sithambile Mlotshwa, the exhibition took place on 4 sites: The Exchanger Limete, the Academy of Fine Arts, the French Institute of Kinshasa and the Centre Wallonie Bruxelles
Forward, but to where? In what direction? It’s knowing where to look and we seek to overcome this reality. It’s aware of what we can offer and transform. It’s to question other’s look around one’s self, of one’s self and on others. This is an opportunity to look at us and enrich us with others. - yangobiennale.org
Congolese nationals in Belgium protesting against the police violence in Congo that cost the lives of 40 Congolese in Congo.(21/01/2015) (24/01/2015)
The demonstrators gathered in Brussels demand the release of more than 300 students that were arrested, said Joseph Solomon Mbeka of the organization “Congolese Resistance”.
‘Je suis Congo' (I am Congo) because the bullets that killed these opponents are as bad as those that were fired at the journalists of Charlie Hebdo, “said Joe Mbeka, president of the Association Change in Congo, which organized the sit-in .
70% of the Congolese population still lives below the poverty line and the balance sheet of Kabila's disastrous. He has to leave because he is a cheater and as stated by the European Union, has no credibility. Kabila must also be tried for the atrocities committed by the Republican Guard, “he concluded
On a 50 day trip across 10 countries, HONY’s current stop in in Kinshasa and Kasangulu of DRC.
She said she’d let me take her photo if I bought some peanuts from her. Afterward, I asked if she could remember the saddest moment of her life. She laughed, and said: “You’re going to need to buy some more peanuts.”
"I’d like them to be ministers or business people. But this one is supposed to start school this year, and I don’t have the money to send him."
"I’m studying law. My dream is to be a judge one day. Too many people in this country are only in prison because they were too poor to defend themselves. When I’m a judge, I’ll look only at the facts, and not at the person."
"I’m studying to be a lawyer. He likes books about frogs."
"I’m embarrassed to say this, but I’ll say it. I’ve had a really hard time finding work, so I’ve been living with my grandmother. And she’s told me recently that she doesn’t have the money to feed me. So I’ve been eating at my friend’s house. I go over there, and I’m too embarrassed to ask for anything, but his dad always insists. He says: ‘Why aren’t you eating? Please, eat!’ This has really caused my idea of ‘family’ to widen. I’ve learned that your family can be anyone."
Congolese performance artist Julie Djikey Kim protests against pollution as a “human car,” with oil filters on her breasts and motor oil and ashes from burned tires smeared all over her body. Photograph by Pascal Maitre (via National Geographic)
Since graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kinshasa, Djikey has used various technologies and art media to advance a politics of renewal - environmental renewal, and a transformation of stereotypical narratives in Congolese art. More on her art at AfricanWomenCinema Blogspot.
This performance protests against the deterioration of the ozone layer due to the greenhouse gas emissions, the main chemo-physical element responsible for the overheating of the blue planet, which should always be green, without air pollution, and free of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.